Board of Education Elections: Pat Piskulich
I have sent each Rochester Community Schools Board of Education candidate questions about Advanced & Gifted Education. Here are the questions and Pat Piskulich‘s responses.
1) Do you believe the opportunities and education that exist for advanced and gifted students in Rochester Community Schools are sufficient? Why or why not?
2) What role do you believe the Board of Education should have in recommending or implementing gifted education options in our district?
3) What changes do you believe should be made to best meet the needs of high achievers based on your understanding of the surrounding community, the current finances, and the needs of RCS students?
4) What role should parents have in determining gifted education options for our district?
5) Should gifted education options be implemented district-wide or at the option of the principals and teachers?
6) Are you a supporter of the International Baccalaureate program and would you work to convert one or more elementary, middle, and high schools in RCS to the IB program?
Mr. Piskulich preferred to not provide written answers to the questions. He contacted me near the beginning of his campaign and he and I met to discuss gifted education. He appears to be open to understanding the needs of advanced and gifted students and has made “Explore opportunities for gifted education, K-5” one of his listed campaign topics.
During the League of Women Voters forum, Mr. Piskulich answered the following questions. I have transcribed the questions and answers below.
Do you believe in the education and opportunities that exist for the advanced and gifted students in Rochester Community Schools?
The Pathways Program I mentioned earlier gives parents a pretty clear roadmap as to where their kids need to be when in order to achieve advanced opportunities by the time they graduate. At the K through 5 level however, we could probably do more. The path is not quite as clear and in fact I spoke to Mr. Raymond who is the primary mover and very dedicated to that cause a while ago and got some ideas. And it seems to me that, actually I was compelled enough by what he had to say that exploring those opportunities is important to me.
Are you a supporter of the International Baccalaureate program and would you work to convert one or more elementary, middle, or high schools to the IB program?
The day of the lottery, I had my fingers crossed, toes crossed, and everything else, and my kid got in. It was one of the great days of my life. I knew that I was fine as a fallback to the extent that Rochester High would offer a good education as well, so I’m a big supporter of the IB. There are now three IB campuses actually. Troy opened their own maybe a couple years ago. I don’t know what that costs. I guess my general opinion is…actually, let me back up. We were very worried at the IA last year that schools like Rochester were going to pull out and the consortium was going to collapse and we would lose the IA. We worked very hard lobbying Lansing to make the IA a school of choice just so we could survive cause it is a jewel in Michigan and nationally. Some districts have pulled out and they are bringing the IB curriculum, but the IB curriculum is more than just courses. It’s an entire constellation of things outside the coursework. So if we can do that, great. It sounds very expensive to make our own school and I guess I look to Troy and see what it cost them to go their own way.
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